Reading Gaol New Banner.png

The Ballad of Reading Gaol was the poet and writer Oscar Wilde's final work. From celebrated playwright and society figure to a broken man dying in exile in Paris, Reading Gaol is a heartrending exploration of the deprivation of liberty, a spectacular fall from grace and a soul-searching quest to hold onto the shreds of humanity during one man's darkest hour. 

This adaptation of Reading Gaol uses the power and grotesque beauty of Wilde's words to tell the story of the punishment and deprivation experienced by prisoners at the turn of the century in direct contrast to the wit and triviality of some of his comedic work.  Featuring Wilde's original poem about the execution of a convicted solider remixed with five brand new pieces of writing commissioned for this production, we plunge headlong into the abyss of incarceration, despair and hope experienced by five prisoners in one of England's most notorious jails. 

Proforça Theatre Company presents a visceral new staging of Oscar Wilde's haunting and evocative piece which explores oppression, censorship, and conformity in an increasingly conservative society with themes which are as relevant to us in our world today as they were over 100 years ago. We are delighted to be returning for our second set of performances at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town following our performances of "The Importance of Being Earnest" this past September as part of our "Project Wilde" sequence of productions. 

"For each man kills the thing he loves, yet each man does not die..."

Running Time: 100 mins Approx. (15 Minute Interval) 
Contains Adult Themes & scenes of violence.  



Monster : James Bowen
Wanderer : Ross Kernahan
Human: Myles Delahunty
Innocent : Jonathon Cooper
Hero: James Baxter-Derrington


Written By : Oscar Wilde as C-3-3
Adapted By :
David Brady
Additional Material By:  Catrin Jones, Harriet Lambert, James Lewis, and Erin Read. 

Directed By : David Brady
Assistant Director / Movement : Harriet Lambert
Assistant Director : Erin Read
Producer: Catrin Keeler
Executive Producers: David Brady, Martina Schøning

Technical Manager: Jack Holoway / Mitchell Reeve

Production Design : Proforca Creative
Marketing Design:  Proforca Creative
Production / Rehearsal Photo Credits: Brittain Photography  / Proforca Theatre Company

Rehearsal Facilities: Theatre Delicatessen, Arch 468, So & So Streatham. 
Accountancy Services : Jodie McDermott, MCA Group Ltd. 

Production Mascot : Barbara Read


Chris Moore, Chris Mellor and the staff at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre, Androulla Eritokritou, Jason Parry, Emma Dodwell-Groves, Alasdair Melrose. Piers Hunt, Stephanie Silver, Jess Barton, Marian Brady, Owena Jones. 

This production is dedicated to Paris Bailey and Flannan Hassett, our first leading men.